Bridges Self-Management

An omnichannel service that helps people cope with long-term health conditions.

Screen showing Bridges Self-Management website

At a glance

  • Tech Stack

  • React Native
  • ReactJS
  • Ruby on Rails
  • Core Services

  • User Research
  • User Experience Design
  • Web App Development
  • Mobile App Development
  • Additional Services

  • Discovery & Strategy Consulting
  • Data Protection & Accessibility Compliance

Background

Bridges Self-Management is an innovative social enterprise committed to empowering over 15 million UK residents living with long-term, incurable health conditions. Traditionally offering printed resources rich with personal stories and guidance, Bridges recognised the evolving needs of their audience – especially the importance of digital accessibility in modern healthcare. This led to the strategic decision to digitise their content, thereby making it accessible anywhere and anytime, ultimately expanding their reach and impact.

Why us

Selected for our extensive expertise in health tech and a robust portfolio of digital transformations, Bit Zesty was the ideal partner for Bridges. Our deep understanding of user-centred design and our commitment to co-creation align perfectly with Bridges’ mission to provide empathetic and practical support to their users. Our collaborative approach was pivotal in ensuring that the digital solutions we developed were not only technologically advanced but also deeply resonant with the needs of the end users.

The Work

User-Centred Design

The project commenced with comprehensive user research aimed at translating the rich content of Bridges’ printed guides into a dynamic digital format. We explored the needs and preferences of users through extensive surveys and interviews, engaging with individuals facing neurological and long-term conditions to ensure our solutions were grounded in real user needs.

Collaborative Development

In partnership with the MRC Centre for Neuromuscular Diseases at UCLH and the South Eastern Health and Social Care Trust (SEHSCT) in Northern Ireland, we focused initially on developing solutions for neuromuscular diseases and stroke survivors. This phase was crucial for understanding condition-specific requirements and crafting a scalable platform that could eventually serve a broader range of conditions.

Building an omnichannel service

Acknowledging Bridges’ goal to reach a wide audience, we developed the solution to be compatible across Android, iOS, and web browsers. Utilising React Native for mobile development and React JS for the web, we maintained a significant portion of the codebase across different platforms. This not only accelerated the development process but also ensured consistency and quality across all user touchpoints.

Robust Content Management

Our development of a bespoke headless CMS API revolutionised how content was managed and served across platforms. This central system allows Bridges’ administrators to update content easily, ensuring that new advice and stories are promptly available, thus supporting the platform’s adaptability and growth.

Adaptability in Various Settings

We addressed the challenge of variable internet access by designing the applications to function effectively offline. This was achieved through the innovative use of custom React Native modules for content download, storage and playback, allowing users to access vital information in environments like hospitals, where connectivity is often limited.

Designing with accessibility in mind

Accessibility was at the forefront of our design process. We engaged in rigorous testing with users who employed a variety of assistive technologies, adjusting and refining the user interface to ensure that the applications were fully accessible and provided an optimal user experience for all.

The Impact

The digital transformation of Bridges’ resources has significantly improved the lives of individuals with neuromuscular conditions and stroke survivors. The new platforms not only offer easier access to support and guidance but also empower users to manage their conditions more effectively. The flexibility of the digital solution allows Bridges to continuously expand and update its offerings, thus catering to an even broader spectrum of conditions and enhancing the overall quality of life for their users.

It’s not just the case of plonking the book into a digital resource. It’s about what the digital resource adds. And I think digital resources open up accessibility for people.

There are still people who love a book and the feel of a book and go to it when they need it. But there are people who want to access it in a way that is convenient for them when they're travelling or sitting in a hospital bed. Having it in different formats was always my aim.

Prof Fiona Jones MBE, CEO and Founder of Bridges Self-Management

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